New Psychoactive Substances: A Potential Threat to Developing Countries

New psychoactive substances (NPS) have become a global phenomenon, with over 134 countries and territories from all world regions reporting them. Since December 2021, governments, laboratories, and partner agencies have confirmed to the UNODC Early Warning Advisory (EWA) on NPS over 1124 substances.

It is agreed that NPS control is one of the most challenging tasks for developing countries. Identifying the present and future threads of NPS is the most challenging task for law enforcement officials. The NPS research has a great impact on substance abuse policy-making and harm reduction strategies.

Methods: The data in this study were collected from the official websites of online journals, Google Scholar, UNODC, International Narcotics Control Board (INCB), and the Department of Narcotics Control (DNC).

Findings: Among the eleven groups of NPS, synthetic cannabinoids and cathinones are the most prevalent and alarming in developing countries. In Bangladesh, NPS abuse has been first identified in 2016. Almost 60 countries adopted legislative solutions to manage NPS by 2021, with many using or amending existing legislation and others employing novel legal mechanisms. It is widely agreed by researchers that reducing the menace of NPS requires increased awareness among all stakeholders.

Conclusion: In the fight against the spread of NPS and its severe effects, law enforcement authorities and healthcare professional training must be seen as crucial aspects as well. Financing is also crucial for international organizations dealing with the NPS impact to continue fighting this war. The only way for policymakers to reduce NPS spread globally is through national and international cooperation.

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